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A00790
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
97
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY REESE, DUNBAR, HICKERNELL, IRVIN, MILLARD, SACCONE
AND TOPPER, APRIL 10, 2017
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, APRIL 10, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in professional employees, further
providing for rating system and providing for evaluation of
charter entity educators; in terms and courses of study,
further providing for agreements with institutions of higher
education; in opportunities for educational excellence,
further providing for definitions, for responsibilities of
school entities and for concurrent enrollment agreements;
and, in charter schools, extensively revising and adding
charter school provisions.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 1525 of the act of March 10, 1949
(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, is
amended to read:
Section 1. Section 1123(e), (i), (n) and (o)(2) of the act
of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School
Code of 1949, are amended to read:
Section 1123. Rating System.--* * *
(e) Notwithstanding subsections (b), (c) and (d),
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professional employes and temporary professional employes
serving as classroom teachers, principals and nonteaching
professional employes may be evaluated through the use of a
rating tool developed by an individual school district,
intermediate unit [or], area vocational-technical school,
charter school or cyber charter school that the department has
approved as meeting or exceeding the measures of effectiveness
established under this section.
* * *
(i) All school districts, intermediate units [and], area
vocational-technical schools, charter schools and cyber charter
schools shall provide to the department the aggregate results of
all professional employe and temporary professional employe,
principal and nonteaching professional employe evaluations.
* * *
(n) The requirements of this section shall apply to all
school districts, intermediate units [and], area vocational-
technical schools, charter schools and cyber charter schools.
(o) For purposes of this section:
* * *
(2) The term "chief school administrator" shall include
individuals who are employed as a school district
superintendent, an executive director of an intermediate unit
[or], a chief school administrator of an area vocational-
technical school or a chief executive officer of a charter
school or cyber charter school.
* * *
Section 1.1. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1123.1. Evaluation of Charter Entity Educators.--(a)
Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, all educators teaching
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in a charter school entity shall be evaluated using an approved
rating tool developed under section 1123.
(b) The Department of Education shall develop, issue and
publish in the Pennsylvania Bulletin a rating tool for educators
teaching in a charter school entity that is consistent with
section 1123 and includes the weights given to the multiple
measures of student performance contained in section 1123(b)(1)
(ii).
Section 1.2. Section 1525 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1525. Agreements with Institutions of Higher
Education.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
contrary, a school district, charter school, regional charter
school, cyber charter school or area vocational-technical school
may enter into an agreement with one or more institutions of
higher education approved to operate in this Commonwealth in
order to allow [resident] students to attend such institutions
of higher education while the [resident] students are enrolled
in the school district, charter school, regional charter school,
cyber charter school or area vocational-technical school. The
agreement may be structured so that high school students may
receive credits toward completion of courses at the school
district, charter school, regional charter school, cyber charter
school or area vocational-technical school and at institutions
of higher education approved to operate in this Commonwealth.
Section 2. The definitions of "concurrent student" and
"school entity" in section 1602-B of the act are amended to
read:
Section 1602-B. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
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context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Concurrent student." A student who is enrolled in a school
district, a charter school, a regional charter school, a cyber
charter school, an area vocational-technical school, a nonpublic
school, a private school or a home education program under
section 1327.1 and who takes a concurrent course through a
concurrent enrollment program.
* * *
"School entity." A school district, a charter school, a
regional charter school, a cyber charter school or an area
vocational-technical school.
* * *
Section 3. Sections 1611-B and 1613-B of the act are amended
by adding subsections to read:
Section 1611-B. Responsibilities of school entities.
* * *
(g) Revenue received by school district.--Notwithstanding
any provision of law to the contrary, the revenues received by a
school district under section 1603-B shall not be included in
the school district's budgeted total expenditure per average
daily membership used to calculate the amount to be paid to a
charter school entity under section 1725-A(a)(2) and (3).
Section 1613-B. Concurrent enrollment agreements.
* * *
(c) Charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber
charter schools.--Charter schools, regional charter schools and
cyber charter schools shall have the power and authority to
enter into a concurrent enrollment agreement with an institution
of higher education, and appropriate credit shall be awarded to
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students concurrently enrolled under the agreement.
Section 4. Section 1703-A of the act, amended July 13, 2016
(P.L.716, No.86), is amended to read:
Section 1703-A. Definitions.--As used in this article,
"Administrator" shall include an employe of a charter school
entity, including the chief administrator of a charter school
entity and any other employe, who by virtue of the employe's
position is responsible for taking official action of a
nonministerial nature with regard to contracting or procurement,
administering or monitoring grants or subsidies, managing or
regulating staff, student and school activities or any activity
where the official action has an economic impact of greater than
a de minimis nature on the interests of any person.
"Aid ratio" and "market value/income aid ratio" shall be:
(1) the aid ratio and market value/income aid ratio for the
school district that granted a charter to the charter school;
(2) for a regional charter school, the aid ratio and market
value/income aid ratio shall be a composite, as determined by
the department, based on the school districts that granted the
charter; or
(3) for a cyber charter school, the aid ratio and market
value/income aid ratio shall be that of the school district in
which the administrative offices of the cyber charter school are
located.
"Appeal board" shall mean the State Charter School Appeal
Board established by this article.
"Assessment" shall mean the Pennsylvania System of School
Assessment test, the Keystone Exam or another test established
or approved by the State board or the General Assembly to meet
the requirements of section 2603-B or 2604-B or 22 Pa. Code §
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4.51 (relating to State assessment system) or required under the
Every Student Succeeds Act (Public Law 114-95, 129 Stat. 1802)
or its successor Federal statute.
"At-risk student" shall mean a student at risk of educational
failure because of limited English proficiency, poverty,
community factors, truancy, academic difficulties or economic
disadvantage.
"Charter school" shall mean an independent public school
established and operated under a charter from the local board of
school directors and in which students are enrolled or attend. A
charter school must be organized as a public, nonprofit
corporation. Charters may not be granted to any for-profit
entity.
"Charter school entity" shall mean a charter school, regional
charter school or cyber charter school.
"Charter school foundation" shall mean a nonprofit
organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)), that
provides funding, resources or otherwise serves to support a
charter school entity, either directly or through an affiliated
entity.
"Chief administrator" shall mean an individual appointed by a
board of trustees to oversee and manage the operation of a
charter school entity. The term shall not include a professional
staff member under this article .
["Chief executive officer" shall mean an individual appointed
by the board of trustees to oversee and manage the operation of
the charter school, but who shall not be deemed a professional
staff member under this article.]
"Community college" shall mean a community college
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established under Article XIX-A.
"Cyber charter school" shall mean an independent public
school established and operated under a charter from the
Department of Education and in which the school uses technology,
including electronic or digital books, in order to provide a
significant portion of its curriculum and to deliver a
significant portion of instruction to its students through the
Internet or other electronic means. A cyber charter school must
be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. A charter may
not be granted to a for-profit entity.
"Department" shall mean the Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"Educational management service provider" shall mean a
nonprofit charter management organization, for-profit education
management organization, school design provider, business
manager or any other partner entity with which a board of
trustees of a charter school entity contracts to provide
educational design, business services, comprehensive management
or personnel functions or to implement the charter. The term
shall not include a charter school foundation.
"Immediate family member" shall mean a parent, spouse, child,
brother, sister, grandparent or grandchild.
"Local board of school directors" shall mean the board of
directors, School Reform Commission or other governing authority
of a school district in which a proposed or an approved charter
school is located.
"Nonrelated" shall mean an individual who is not an immediate
family member.
"Regional charter school" shall mean an independent public
school established and operated under a charter from more than
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one local board of school directors and in which students are
enrolled or attend. A regional charter school must be organized
as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted
to any for-profit entity.
"School district of residence" shall mean the school district
in this Commonwealth in which [the parents or guardians of a
child reside] a child resides as determined under section 1302
and 22 Pa. Code § 11.11(a)(1) (relating to entitlement of
resident children to attend public schools).
"School entity" shall mean a school district, intermediate
unit, joint school or area vocational-technical school.
"School performance profile" shall mean the Pennsylvania
School Performance Profile developed by the department under
section 1123.
"Secretary" shall mean the Secretary of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"State board" shall mean the State Board of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"State System institution" shall mean a member institution of
the State System of Higher Education established under Article
XX-A.
Section 5. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1704-A. Charter School Funding Advisory
Commission.--(a) A Charter School Funding Advisory Commission
is established. The commission shall examine the financing of
charter school entities in the public education system and
related issues. The commission shall examine how charter school
entity finances affect opportunities for teachers, parents,
pupils and community members to establish and maintain schools
that operate independently from the existing school district
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structure as a method to accomplish the requirements of section
1702-A. The General Assembly shall provide administrative
support, meeting space and any other assistance required by the
commission to carry out its duties under this section .
(b) The commission shall consist of the following members:
(1) Two members of the Senate from the majority party
appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, in
consultation with the Majority Leader of the Senate, one of whom
shall be the chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate.
(2) Two members of the Senate from the minority party
appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, one of whom
shall be the minority chairman of the Education Committee of the
Senate.
(3) Two members of the House of Representatives from the
majority party appointed by the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, in consultation with the Majority Leader of the
House of Representatives, one of whom shall be the chairman of
the Education Committee of the House of Representatives.
(4) Two members of the House of Representatives from the
minority party appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of
Representatives, one of whom shall be the minority chairman of
the Education Committee of the House of Representatives.
(5) The secretary or a designee.
(6) An at-large member chosen by the Governor, the President
pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives.
(7) To represent the interests of charter school entities,
the following members, who shall be appointed by the secretary
from a list provided by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public
Charter Schools and the Keystone Alliance:
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(i) One member who shall be a business manager of a charter
school.
(ii) One member who shall be a business manager of a cyber
charter school.
(8) To represent the interests of school districts, the
following members, who shall be appointed by the secretary from
a list provided by the Pennsylvania Association of School
Business Officials:
(i) One member who shall be a business manager of a rural
school district.
(ii) One member who shall be a business manager of an urban
school district.
(c) Members of the commission shall be appointed within
thirty (30) days of the effective date of this section . Any
vacancy on the commission shall be filled by the original
appointing authority. The commission shall be co-chaired by the
chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate and chairman
of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives. The
organizational meeting shall take place not later than sixty
(60) days following the effective date of this section .
(d) The commission shall hold meetings at the call of the
chairmen. The commission may hold no more than six public
hearings on the matters to be considered by the commission. All
meetings and public hearings of the commission shall be deemed
public meetings for the purpose of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to
open meetings). Eight members of the commission shall constitute
a quorum at any meeting. Each member of the commission may
designate another person to represent that member at meetings of
the commission.
(e) Commission members shall receive no compensation for
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their services but shall be reimbursed by the department for all
necessary travel and other reasonable expenses incurred in
connection with the performance of their duties as members.
Whenever possible, the commission shall utilize the services and
expertise of existing personnel and staff of State government.
(f) The commission shall have the following powers and
duties:
(1) Meet with current charter school entity operators and
personnel, school district personnel and other representatives
of public education.
(2) Review charter school entity financing laws in operation
throughout the United States.
(3) Assess the actual cost of educating a child in a cyber
charter school.
(4) Evaluate and make recommendations on the following:
(i) Consideration of establishing an independent State-level
board, or multiple entities, to authorize charter school
entities and support charter school quality and accountability
through performance monitoring and technical assistance.
(ii) The process by which charter school entities are funded
under section 1725-A, including addressing potential funding
inequities, to include consideration of continuing the school
district deductions for tax assessment and collection services,
thirty per centum of operation and maintenance of plant services
and the actual total amount the district of residence paid to
cyber charter schools under section 1725-A for the prior school
year.
(iii) Appropriate funding for charter school entity
facilities and management.
(iv) A process by which the performance matrix established
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under section 1731.2-A shall compare the academic performance of
each charter school entity with the academic performance of the
school district of residence of each student enrolled in the
charter school entity.
(v) Special education transportation.
(vi) Other funding issues raised in the course of public
hearings.
(vii) Consideration of a school district deduction for
programs and services to the extent they are funded from the
proceeds of competitive grants from private or public resources
or from contributions or donations from private sources.
(viii) The appropriate manner of funding a charter school
that primarily serves adjudicated youth.
(ix) Funding of and all costs associated with athletic
programs.
(x) Consideration of a method by which a local board of
school directors, when considering a charter application, may
review whether charter school entities are sufficiently
distributed throughout a school district while also ensuring
that a charter application is not denied on the basis of
geographic location.
(xi) Consideration of the appropriate manner of implementing
the recommendations of the Special Education Funding Commission
with respect to charter school entities, based on the manner in
which the commission's recommendations have been implemented for
school districts.
(5) Issue a report pursuant to sub section (g).
(g) The commission shall, no later than twelve (12) months
from the effective date of this section , issue a report of its
findings and recommendations to the Governor, the President pro
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tempore of the Senate, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the
Minority Leader of the Senate, the chairman and minority
chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate, the
chairman and minority chairman of the Education Committee of the
Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Minority
Leader of the House of Representatives, the chairman and
minority chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the House
of Representatives and the chairman and minority chairman of the
Education Committee of the House of Representatives. The
recommendations of the commission shall not take effect unless
the recommendations are approved by an act of the General
Assembly enact ed after the effective date of this section .
Section 6. Section 1715-A of the act is amended to read:
Section 1715-A. Charter School Entity Requirements.--(a)
Charter [schools] school entities shall be required to comply
with the following provisions:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this article, a charter
school entity is exempt from statutory requirements established
in this act, from regulations of the State board and the
standards of the secretary not specifically applicable to
charter [schools] school entities. Charter [schools] school
entities are not exempt from statutes applicable to public
schools other than this act.
(2) A charter school entity shall be accountable to the
parents, the public and the Commonwealth, with the delineation
of that accountability reflected in the charter. Strategies for
meaningful parent and community involvement shall be developed
and implemented by each school.
(3) A charter school entity shall not unlawfully
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discriminate in admissions, hiring or operation.
(4) A charter school entity shall be nonsectarian in all
operations.
(5) (i) [A] Subject to subparagraph (ii), a charter school
entity shall not provide any religious instruction, nor shall it
display religious objects and symbols on the premises of the
charter school entity.
(ii) It shall not be a violation of this paragraph for a
charter school entity to utilize a sectarian facility:
(A) if the charter school entity provides for discrete and
separate entrances to buildings utilized for school purposes
only;
(B) if the religious objects and symbols within the portions
of the facility utilized by the school are covered or removed to
the extent reasonably feasible; or
(C) in which the unused portion of the facility or its
common areas contain religious symbols and objects.
(6) A charter school entity shall not advocate unlawful
behavior.
(7) A charter school or regional charter school shall only
be subject to the laws and regulations as provided for in
section 1732-A, or as otherwise provided for in this [article]
act.
(7.1) A cyber charter school shall only be subject to the
laws and regulations as provided for in section 1749-A, or as
otherwise provided for in this act .
(8) A charter school entity shall participate in [the
Pennsylvania State Assessment System as provided for in 22 Pa.
Code Ch. 5 (relating to curriculum), or subsequent regulations
promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch. 5,] assessments in the
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manner in which the school district in which the charter school
entity is located is scheduled to participate.
(9) A charter school entity shall provide a minimum of one
hundred eighty (180) days of instruction or nine hundred (900)
hours per year of instruction at the elementary level, or nine
hundred ninety (990) hours per year of instruction at the
secondary level. Nothing in this clause shall preclude the use
of computer and satellite linkages for delivering instruction to
students.
(9.1) A cyber charter school may use in-person interaction,
testing or instruction for students protected by the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. §
1400 et seq.) or section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
(Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C. § 794) for the amount of time that
such services are required by the student's individualized
education program or by the plan describing services provided to
the student pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973.
(10) Boards of trustees and contractors of charter [schools]
school entities shall be subject to the following statutory
requirements governing construction projects and construction-
related work:
(i) The following provisions of this act:
(A) Sections 751 and 751.1.
(B) Sections 756 and 757 insofar as they are consistent with
the act of December 20, 1967 (P.L.869, No.385), known as the
"Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."
(ii) Section 1 of the act of May 1, 1913 (P.L.155, No.104),
entitled "An act regulating the letting of certain contracts for
the erection, construction, and alteration of public buildings."
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(iii) The act of August 11, 1961 (P.L.987, No.442), known as
the "Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act."
(iv) The "Public Works Contractors' Bond Law of 1967."
(v) The act of March 3, 1978 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the
"Steel Products Procurement Act."
(11) Trustees of a charter school entity shall be public
officials[.] for the purposes of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to
ethics standards and financial disclosure) and shall file a
statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year
with the State Ethics Commission and either the local board of
school directors in the case of a charter school or regional
charter school, or the department in the case of a cyber charter
school, not later than May 1 of each year that members hold the
position and of the year after a member leaves the position. All
members of the board of trustees of a charter school entity
shall take the oath of office as required under section 321
before entering upon the duties of their office.
[(12) A person who serves as an administrator for a charter
school shall not receive compensation from another charter
school or from a company that provides management or other
services to another charter school. The term "administrator"
shall include the chief executive officer of a charter school
and all other employes of a charter school who by virtue of
their positions exercise management or operational oversight
responsibilities. A person who serves as an administrator for a
charter school shall be a public official under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch.
11 (relating to ethics standards and financial disclosure). A
violation of this clause shall constitute a violation of 65
Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) (relating to restricted activities), and the
violator shall be subject to the penalties imposed under the
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jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission.]
(b) An individual who serves as an administrator for a
charter school entity shall be a public employe for the purposes
of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 and shall file a statement of financial
interests for the preceding calendar year with the board of
trustees not later than May 1 of each year that the person holds
the position and of the year after the person leaves the
position.
(c) (1) No individual who serves as an administrator for a
charter school entity may receive compensation from another
charter school entity or from an educational management service
provider, unless:
(i) The administrator has submitted a sworn statement to the
board of trustees of the charter school entity and the sworn
statement details the work for the other entity and includes the
projected number of hours, rate of compensation and projected
duration.
(ii) The board of trustees of the charter school entity has
reviewed the sworn statement under sub clause (i) and agreed, by
resolution, to grant permission to the administrator.
(2) A copy of the sworn statement under clause (1)(i) and
the resolution by the board of trustees granting the permission
under clause (1)(ii) shall be provided to, and kept on file
with, the charter school entity and the local board of school
directors or, in the case of a cyber charter school, the
department.
(3) No administrator of a charter school entity or immediate
family member of the administrator may serve as a voting member
of the board of trustees of the charter school entity that
employs the administrator.
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(4) (i) No administrator of a charter school entity may
participate in the selection, award or administration of a
contract if the person has a conflict of interest as that term
is defined in 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating to definitions).
(ii) An administrator who knowingly violates this clause
commits a violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) (relating to
restricted activities) and shall be subject to the penalties
imposed under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission.
(iii) Any contract made in violation of this clause shall be
voidable by the board of trustees of the charter school entity.
(5) An administrator shall be immediately dismissed upon
conviction for an offense graded as a felony, an infamous crime,
an offense pertaining to fraud, theft or mismanagement of public
funds or any crime involving moral turpitude.
Section 7. Section 1716-A(c) of the act is amended and the
section is amended by adding subsections to read:
Section 1716-A. Powers of Board of Trustees.--* * *
(b.1) (1) For a charter school or regional charter school
chartered after the effective date of this sub section , an
individual shall be prohibited from serving as a voting member
of the board of trustees of the charter school or regional
charter school if the individual or an immediate family member
receives compensation from or is employed by or is a member of
the local board of school directors who participated in the
initial review, approval, oversight, evaluation or renewal
process of the charter school or regional charter school
chartered by that board.
(2) An employe of the school district that chartered a
charter school or regional charter school may serve as a member
of the board of trustees of the charter school or regional
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charter school without voting privileges.
(b.2) (1) No member of the board of trustees of a charter
school entity may participate in the selection, award or
administration of any contract if the member has a conflict of
interest as that term is defined in 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating
to definitions).
(2) Any member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity who in the discharge of the person's official duties
would be required to vote on a matter that would result in a
conflict of interest shall abstain from voting and follow the
procedures required under 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(j) (relating to
restricted activities).
(3) A member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity who knowingly violates this sub section commits a
violation of 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a) and shall be subject to the
penalties imposed under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics
Commission.
(4) A contract made in violation of this sub section shall be
voidable by a court of competent jurisdiction, if the suit is
commenced within ninety (90) days of the making of the contract.
(5) No member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity shall be compensated for duties on the board of trustees.
(b.3) A member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity shall be automatically disqualified and immediately
removed from the board of trustees upon conviction for an
offense graded as a felony, an infamous crime, an offense
pertaining to fraud, theft or mismanagement of public funds, any
offense pertaining to his official capacity as a member of the
board of trustees or any crime involving moral turpitude.
(c) The board of trustees shall comply with [the act of July
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3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the "Sunshine Act."] 65
Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).
(d) (1) (i) The board of trustees of a charter school
entity shall consist of a minimum of five (5) nonrelated voting
members.
(ii) If a charter school entity has fewer than five (5)
nonrelated voting members serving on its board of trustees on
the effective date of this sub section , the charter school entity
shall, within sixty (60) days, appoint additional members to the
board of trustees to meet the minimum requirements of this
section .
(2) Within one (1) year of the effective date of this
sub section , at least one member of the board of trustees of a
charter school entity shall be a parent of a child currently
attending the charter school entity. The board of trustees
member provided for under this paragraph shall be eligible to
serve only so long as the child attends the charter school
entity. This paragraph shall not apply to a charter school that
primarily serves adjudicated youth.
(e) (1) A majority of the voting members of the board of
trustees shall constitute a quorum. If less than a majority is
present at any meeting, no business may be transacted at the
meeting.
(2) The affirmative vote of a majority of all the voting
members of the board of trustees, duly recorded, shall be
required in order to take official action on the subjects
enumerated under sub section (a).
Section 8. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1716.1-A. Payment of Indebtedness by Charter School
Entities.--(a) The board of trustees of a charter school entity
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shall supply the secretary and, in the case of a charter school
or regional charter school, the local board of school directors
a list of the amount of rental payments which are guarantees for
school building debt or bonds that become due during the fiscal
year together with the amount paid on each item of indebtedness.
Any charter school entity that elects to issue new school
building debt or bonds shall hold in escrow an amount sufficient
to pay the annual amount of the sum of the principal maturing or
subject to mandatory redemption and interest owing by the
charter school entity or sinking fund deposit due by the charter
school entity.
(b) (1) In any case where the board of trustees of a
charter school entity fails to pay or to provide for the payment
of:
(i) any indebtedness at date of maturity or date of
mandatory redemption or on any sinking fund deposit date; or
(ii) any interest due on such indebtedness on any interest
payment date or on any sinking fund deposit date in accordance
with the schedule under which the bonds were issued,
the bank or trustee for the bonds shall notify the board of
trustees of its obligation and shall immediately notify the
secretary and, in the case of a charter school or regional
charter school, the local board of school directors.
(2) The secretary shall withhold any payment due the charter
school entity in any amount necessary to fully fund the amount
held in escrow by the charter school entity which shall be equal
to the sum of the principal amount maturing or subject to
mandatory redemption and interest owing by the charter school
entity or sinking fund deposit due by the charter school entity
and shall require payover of the amount withheld to the bank or
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trustee acting as the sinking fund depositary for the bond issue
from the escrow account.
Section 9. Sections 1717-A(c), (d), (e) and (f), 1719-A,
1720-A and 1721-A(a) and (e) of the act are amended to read:
Section 1717-A. Establishment of Charter School.--* * *
(c) An application to establish a charter school shall be
submitted to the local board of school directors of the district
where the charter school will be located by [November 15]
October 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which
the charter school will be established except that for a charter
school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, an application
must be received by July 15, 1997. In the 1997-1998 school year
only, applications shall be limited to recipients of fiscal year
1996-1997 Department of Education charter school planning
grants.
(d) Within forty-five (45) days of receipt of an
application, the local board of school directors in which the
proposed charter school is to be located shall hold at least one
public hearing on the provisions of the charter application,
under [the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the
"Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).
At least forty-five (45) days must transpire between the first
public hearing and the final decision of the board on the
charter application except that for a charter school beginning
in the 1997-1998 school year, only thirty (30) days must
transpire between the first public hearing and the final
decision of the board.
(e) (1) Not later than seventy-five (75) days after the
first public hearing on the application, the local board of
school directors shall grant or deny the application. For a
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charter school beginning in the 1997-1998 school year, the local
board of school directors shall grant or deny the application no
later than sixty (60) days after the first public hearing.
(2) A charter school application submitted under this
article shall be evaluated by the local board of school
directors based on criteria, including, but not limited to, the
following:
(i) The demonstrated, sustainable support for the charter
school plan by teachers, parents, other community members and
students, including comments received at the public hearing held
under subsection (d).
(ii) The capability of the charter school applicant, in
terms of support and planning, to provide comprehensive learning
experiences to students pursuant to the adopted charter.
(iii) The extent to which the application considers the
information requested in section 1719-A and conforms to the
legislative intent outlined in section 1702-A.
(iv) The extent to which the charter school may serve as a
model for other public schools and share best practices.
(3) The local board of school directors, in the case of an
existing school being converted to a charter school, shall
establish the alternative arrangements for current students who
choose not to attend the charter school.
(4) A charter application shall be deemed approved by the
local board of school directors [of a school district] upon
affirmative vote by a majority of all the directors. Formal
action approving or denying the application shall be taken by
the local board of school directors at a public meeting, with
notice or consideration of the application given by the board,
under [the "Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7.
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(5) Written notice of the board's action shall be sent to
the applicant, the department and the appeal board. If the
application is denied, the reasons for the denial, including a
description of deficiencies in the application, shall be clearly
stated in the notice sent by the local board of school directors
to the charter school applicant.
(f) At the option of the charter school applicant, a denied
application may be revised and resubmitted to the local board of
school directors. Following the appointment and confirmation of
the Charter School Appeal Board under section 1721-A, the
decision of the local board of school directors may be appealed
to the appeal board. When an application is revised and
resubmitted to the local board of school directors, the board
may schedule additional public hearings on the revised
application. The board shall consider the revised and
resubmitted application at the first board meeting occurring at
least forty-five (45) days after receipt of the revised
application by the board. For a revised application resubmitted
for the 1997-1998 school year, the board shall consider the
application at the first board meeting occurring at least thirty
(30) days after its receipt. The board shall provide notice of
consideration of the revised application under [the "Sunshine
Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7. No appeal from a decision of a local
school board may be taken until July 1, 1999.
* * *
Section 1719-A. Contents of Application.--[An] (a) The
department shall create a standard application form in paper and
electronic formats for charter school applicants seeking to
establish a charter school entity and a standard application
form in paper and electronic formats for existing charter school
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entities seeking renewal of their charters. The forms shall be
published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and posted on the
department's publicly accessible Internet website. The forms
shall include all of the following information:
(1) The identification of the charter school applicant.
(2) The name of the proposed charter school entity.
(3) The grade or age levels served by the school.
(4) [The proposed governance structure of the charter
school, including a description and method for the appointment
or election of members of the board of trustees.] An
organization chart clearly presenting the proposed governance
structure of the school, including lines of authority and
reporting between the board of trustees, administrators, staff
and any educational management service provider that will
provide management services to the charter school entity.
(4.1) A clear description of the roles and responsibilities
of the board of trustees, administrators and any other entities,
including a charter school foundation, shown in the organization
chart.
(4.2) A clear description of the method for the appointment
or election of members of the board of trustees.
(4.3) Standards for board of trustees' performance,
including compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and
terms of the charter.
(4.4) If the charter school entity intends to contract with
an educational management service provider for services, all of
the following shall apply:
(i) Evidence of the educational management service
provider's record in serving student populations, including
demonstrated academic achievement and demonstrated management of
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nonacademic school functions, including proficiency with public
school-based accounting, if applicable.
(ii) A draft contract stating all of the following:
(A) The officers, chief administrator and administrators of
the educational management service provider.
(B) The proposed duration of the service contract.
(C) Roles and responsibilities of the board of trustees, the
school staff and the educational management service provider.
(D) The scope of services, personnel and resources to be
provided by the educational management service provider.
(E) Performance evaluation measures and timelines.
(F) The compensation structure, including clear
identification of all fees to be paid to the educational
management service provider.
(G) Methods of contract oversight and enforcement.
(H) Investment disclosure or the advance of moneys by the
educational management service provider on behalf of the charter
school entity.
(I) Conditions for renewal and termination of the contract.
(iii) Disclosure and explanation of any existing or
potential conflicts of interest between the members of the board
of trustees and the proposed educational management service
provider or any affiliated business entities, including a
charter school foundation qualified as a support organization
under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26
U.S.C. § 1 et seq.).
(5) The mission and education goals of the charter school
entity, the curriculum to be offered and the methods of
assessing whether students are meeting educational goals.
(6) The admission and enrollment policy [and criteria for
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evaluating the admission of students] which shall comply with
the requirements of section 1723-A.
(7) Procedures which will be used regarding the suspension
or expulsion of pupils. Said procedures shall comply with
section 1318.
(8) Information on the manner in which community groups will
be involved in the charter school entity planning process.
(9) The financial plan for the charter school entity and the
provisions which will be made for auditing the school under
[section 437] section s 437 and 1728-A, including the role of any
charter school foundation.
(10) Procedures which shall be established to review
complaints of parents regarding the operation of the charter
school entity.
(11) A description of and address of the physical facility
in which the charter school entity will be located and the
ownership thereof and any lease arrangements.
(12) Information on the proposed school calendar for the
charter school entity, including the length of the school day
and school year consistent with the provisions of section 1502.
(13) The proposed faculty, if already determined, and a
professional development and continuing education plan for the
faculty and professional staff of [a] the charter school entity.
(14) Whether any agreements have been entered into or plans
developed with the local school district regarding participation
of the charter school entity's students in extracurricular
activities within the school district. Notwithstanding any
provision to the contrary, no school district of residence shall
prohibit a student of a charter school entity from participating
in any extracurricular activity of that school district of
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residence: Provided, That the student is able to fulfill all of
the requirements of participation in such activity and the
charter school entity does not provide the same extracurricular
activity.
(15) [A report] Reports of criminal history [record] records
and employment history reviews, pursuant to [section 111]
section s 111 and 111.1 , for all individuals identified in the
application who shall have direct contact with students[.] and a
plan for satisfying the proper criminal history record
clearances and employment history reviews required for all other
staff.
(16) An official clearance statement regarding child injury
or abuse from the Department of Public Welfare as required by 23
Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 Subch. [C.2 (relating to background checks for
employment in schools)] C (relating to powers and duties of
department) and section 111 for all individuals identified in
the application who shall have direct contact with students[.]
and a plan for satisfying the proper official clearance
statement regarding child injury or abuse required for all other
staff.
(17) How the charter school entity will provide adequate
liability and other appropriate insurance for the charter school
entity, its employes and the board of trustees of the charter
school entity.
(18) Policies regarding truancy, absences and withdrawal of
students, including the manner in which the charter school
entity will monitor attendance consistent with section 1715-A(a)
(9). The charter school entity's policy shall establish, to the
satisfaction of the local board of school directors or, in the
case of a cyber charter school, to the satisfaction of the
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department, that the charter school entity will comply with the
provisions of section s 1326, 1327, 1327.2, 1329, 1330, 1332,
1333, 1333.1, 1333.2 and 1333.3, including the institution of
truancy proceedings when required under section 1333.1.
(19) How the charter school entity will meet the standards
included in the performance matrix developed by the State Board
of Education under section 1731.2-A.
(20) Indicate whether or not the charter school entity will
seek accreditation by a nationally recognized accreditation
agency, including the Middle States Association of Colleges and
Schools or another regional institutional accrediting agency
recognized by the United States Department of Education or an
equivalent federally recognized body for charter school
education.
(b) A local board of school directors may not impose
additional terms, develop its own application or require
additional information outside the standard application forms
required under sub section (a). The department shall review the
standard application forms every three (3) years and shall
submit any recommended revisions in writing to the Education
Committee of the Senate and the Education Committee of the House
of Representatives. No such recommended revisions shall be made
to the standard application forms unless the revisions are
enact ed by the General Assembly.
Section 1720-A. Term and Form of Charter.--(a) (1) Upon
approval of a charter application under section 1717-A, a
written charter shall be developed which shall contain the
provisions of the standard charter application under section
1719-A and which shall be signed by the local board of school
directors [of a school district], by the local boards of school
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directors [of a school district] in the case of a regional
charter school or by the chairman of the appeal board pursuant
to section [1717-A(i)(5)] 1717-A(i)(9) and the board of trustees
of the charter school or regional charter school. This written
charter, when duly signed by the local board of school directors
[of a school district, or], by the local boards of school
directors [of a school district] in the case of a regional
charter school or by the chairman of the appeal board, and the
charter school or regional charter school's board of trustees,
shall act as legal authorization for the establishment of a
charter school or regional charter school. This written charter
shall be legally binding on both the local board of school
directors [of a school district] and the charter school or
regional charter school's board of trustees. [Except as
otherwise provided in subsection (b), the charter shall be for a
period of no less than three (3) nor more than five (5) years
and may be renewed for five (5) year periods upon
reauthorization by the local board of school directors of a
school district or the appeal board.] If the charter school or
regional charter school contracts with an educational management
service provider, a contract shall be executed once the charter
is approved. A charter will be granted only for a school
organized as a public, nonprofit corporation.
(2) The following shall apply to all charters granted by a
local board of school directors:
(i) An initial charter executed pursuant to section
1720- A(a)(1) shall be for a period of five (5) years.
(ii) Prior to the effective date of the regulations
implementing the performance matrix as required pursuant to
section 1731.2-A, a charter may be renewed for five (5) year
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periods upon reauthorization by the local board of school
directors or the appeal board.
(iii) Upon the effective date of the regulations
implementing the performance matrix as required pursuant to
section 1731.2-A, the following shall apply:
(A) For charter schools and regional charter schools that
have satisfied the academic quality benchmark established by the
State board pursuant to section 1731.2-A(3), a charter may be
renewed for ten (10) year periods upon reauthorization by the
local board of school directors or the appeal board. Beginning
in the sixth year of any ten (10) year period of renewal under
this sub clause , the charter of any charter school or regional
charter school that fails for two (2) consecutive years to
satisfy the academic quality benchmark established by the State
board under section 1731.2-A(3) shall be subject to review by
the local board of school directors.
(B) For charter schools and regional charter schools that
have not satisfied the academic quality benchmark established by
the State board pursuant to section 1731.2-A(3), a charter may
be renewed for five (5) year periods upon reauthorization by the
local board of school directors or the appeal board.
[(b) (1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a governing board
of a school district of the first class may renew a charter for
a period of one (1) year if the board of school directors
determines that there is insufficient data concerning the
charter school's academic performance to adequately assess that
performance and determines that an additional year of
performance data would yield sufficient data to assist the
governing board in its decision whether to renew the charter for
a period of five (5) years.
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(2) A one-year renewal pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not
be considered an adjudication and may not be appealed to the
State Charter School Appeal Board.
(3) A governing board of a school district of the first
class does not have the authority to renew a charter for
successive one (1) year periods.]
(c) (1) A charter school or regional charter school may
request amendments to its approved written charter by filing a
written document describing the requested amendment with the
local board of school directors.
(2) Within sixty (60) days of its receipt of the request for
an amendment, the local board of school directors shall hold a
public hearing on the requested amendment under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7
(relating to open meetings).
(3) Within sixty (60) days after the hearing, the local
board of school directors shall grant or deny the requested
amendment. Failure by the local board of school directors to
hold a public hearing and to grant or deny the amendment within
the time period specified in this sub section shall be deemed an
approval.
(4) An applicant for an amendment shall have the right to
appeal the denial of a requested amendment to the appeal board
provided for under section 1721-A.
Section 1721-A. State Charter School Appeal Board.--(a) The
State Charter School Appeal Board shall consist of the Secretary
of Education and [six (6)] the following members who shall be
appointed by the Governor by and with the consent of a majority
of all the members of the Senate. [Appointments by the Governor
shall not occur prior to January 1, 1999.] The Governor shall
select the chairman of the appeal board to serve at the pleasure
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of the Governor. The members shall include:
(1) A parent of a school-aged child enrolled in a charter
school entity.
(2) A school board member.
(3) A certified teacher actively employed in a public
school.
(4) A faculty member or administrative employe of an
institution of higher education.
(5) A member of the business community.
(6) A member of the State Board of Education.
(7) An administrator of a charter school entity.
(8) A member of the board of trustees of a charter school
entity.
(9) A principal of a public school not operated under this
article .
The term of office of members of the appeal board, other than
the secretary, shall be for a period of four (4) years or until
a successor is appointed and qualified, except that, of the
initial appointees, the Governor shall designate two (2) members
to serve terms of two (2) years, two (2) members to serve terms
of three (3) years and two (2) members to serve terms of four
(4) years. A parent member appointed under paragraph (1) shall
serve a term of four (4) years, provided the member's child
remains enrolled in the charter school entity. Any appointment
to fill any vacancy shall be for the period of the unexpired
term or until a successor is appointed and qualified.
* * *
(e) Meetings of the appeal board shall be conducted under
[the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the
"Sunshine Act."] 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).
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Documents of the appeal board shall be subject to the [act of
June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred to as the Right-to-
Know Law.] act of February 14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the
"Right-to-Know L aw."
Section 10. Section 1722-A(a), (b) and (d) and 1723-A(a) and
(b) of the act are amended and the sections are amended by
adding subsections to read:
Section 1722-A. Facilities.--(a) A charter school entity
may be located in an existing public school building, in a part
of an existing public school building, in space provided on a
privately owned site, in a public building or in any other
suitable location.
(b) The charter school entity facility shall be exempt from
public school facility regulations except those pertaining to
the health or safety of [the pupils] students.
(b.1) (1) A charter school entity shall have the right of
first refusal to purchase or lease, for educational purposes
only, a public school building or a part of a public school
building which is no longer in use by the property titleholder,
at the price of one of the following:
(i) The last best offer above fair market value received in
the ninety (90) days preceding the charter school entity's
offer.
(ii) Fair market value, if no offer has been received in the
ninety (90) days preceding the charter school entity's offer.
(iii) Below fair market value, upon the mutual agreement of
the school entity and the charter school entity.
(2) A school entity shall accept an offer from a charter
school entity that conforms to the provisions of paragraph (1).
(3) The department shall provide a page on its publicly
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accessible Internet website on which school entities are
required to post a notice for each public school building or
part of a public school building that is available for purchase
or lease. A school entity shall submit a notice to the
department on a form to be developed by the department. The
department shall post the notice within five (5) days of
receiving the form.
(4) The following shall apply to the sale or lease of a
public school building or a part of a public school building by
a school entity:
(i) A school entity may not enter a contract to sell or
lease a building or part of a building until at least thirty
(30) days after the posting of a notice as required under
paragraph (3).
(ii) Where two (2) or more charter school entities make
offers on the same building or part of a building that conform
to the provisions of this sub section , the school entity shall:
(A) Accept the first offer, if the offers are equal in
dollar amount.
(B) Accept the best offer, if the offers differ in dollar
amount.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, [a
school district of the first class may, in its discretion,
permit a charter school to operate its school at more than one
location.] a charter school or regional charter school that does
not have in its written charter any limits on student enrollment
or caps is permitted to operate its school at more than one
location.
* * *
(f) (1) Alcoholic beverages shall not be available for
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consumption, purchase or sale in any charter school entity
facility.
(2) If, in the case of a charter school or regional charter
school, the local board of school directors reasonably believes
that alcoholic beverages have been made available for
consumption, purchase or sale in the charter school or regional
charter school facility, the local board of school directors
shall notify the department.
(3) If alcoholic beverages have been made available for
consumption, purchase or sale in a charter school entity
facility, the secretary shall order the following forfeitures
against the charter school entity:
(i) A fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the first
violation.
(ii) A fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the second
or subsequent violation.
(4) The charter school entity may appeal the order of the
secretary under 2 Pa.C.S. Chs. 5 (relating to practice and
procedure) and 7 (relating to judicial review).
Section 1723-A. [Enrollment] Admission and Enrollment
Requirements.--(a) (1) All resident children in this
Commonwealth who submit a completed enrollment form in
accordance with clause s (3) and (4) qualify for admission to a
charter school entity within the provisions of subsection (b).
[If] In the case of a charter school or regional charter school,
if more students apply to the charter school or regional charter
school than the number of attendance slots available in the
school, then students must be selected on a random basis from a
pool of [qualified applicants meeting the established
eligibility criteria and submitting an application] eligible
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applicants who have submitted an enrollment form in accordance
with clause s (3) and (4) by the deadline established by the
charter school or regional charter school, except that the
charter school or regional charter school may give preference in
enrollment to a child of a parent who has actively participated
in the development of the charter school [and] or regional
charter school, to siblings of students presently enrolled in
the charter school or regional charter school and to siblings of
students selected for enrollment during the lottery process.
First preference shall be given to students who reside in the
district or districts[.] in which the charter school is
physically located or in which the regional charter school is
chartered .
(2) If a charter school or regional charter school has a
waiting list following its initial selection of eligible
applicants under clause (1), the charter school or regional
charter school shall select and enroll eligible applicants from
the waiting list as spaces become available. All children shall
be assigned to the waiting list on a random basis. When
selecting and enrolling eligible applicants from the waiting
list, a charter school or regional charter school shall give
first preference to students as provided under clause (1) and to
those who reside in the district or districts in which the
charter school is physically located or in which the regional
charter school is chartered until the charter school or regional
charter school again reaches its maximum capacity of students.
If a charter school or regional charter school has a waiting
list, once the charter school or regional charter school has
exhausted the waiting list of resident children, it may then
enroll children on the waiting list who reside outside of the
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